Mating Service for Lonely Patents Gets Heavyweight Backing

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based yet2.com, a pioneer in the field of intellectual property buying and selling over the Internet, announced today that it has received $20 million (US$) in backing from a group of high-profile venture capitalists and multinational corporations, including Proctor & Gamble and Honeywell.

The company, which is viewed by its participating members as a way to recoup some of the billions of dollars spent on research and development every year, has signed up an impressive list of corporations that have listed their patented technologies on yet2.com’s intellectual mating service in hopes of finding other companies who want to acquire licenses.

In addition to investors Procter & Gamble and Honeywell, other companies offering intellectual property on its Web site include Boeing, Ford, Philips, Rockwell, TRW, Polaroid, 3M, DuPont, Monsanto and Allied Signal.

Launched in October 1999, yet2.com says it plans to add foreign corporations, academic institutions and government agencies to its mix.

Hey, Buddy, Wanna License A Squeeze Activated Syringe

While consumers might go on eBay to find a Mickey Mantle rookie card, a scientist might go onto yet2.com to license something like a squeeze activated syringe or a Talha energy system, which are listed on the site as recent additions.

“We’re a company overflowing with technologies, which we’ve committed to licensing and selling to other companies, suppliers, even competitors,” said Jeff Weedman, a Procter & Gamble VP of licensing and corporate new ventures. “We’ve been hungering for a breakthrough business-to-business marketplace. Yet2.com provides a cutting-edge, Internet-based way to market out technologies simply, effectively and globally.”

Procter & Gamble spends a reported $1.7 billion a year on R&D. Yet2.com said the company is offering licensing rights for some patented detergent agents it developed that can be effective as lubricants for high-friction oil drilling.

Connections in High Places

Yet2.com certainly has some connections to the upper echelons of America’s corporate world. One of its founders is Ben du Pont, a descendant of the DuPont chemical family. He was responsible for developing DuPont’s first online business in 1994 and has also founded two Web content creation companies.

To further its pedigree, the company’s $20 million backing was provided in part by venture capital firms 3i Group and Venrock Associates, a company owned by the Rockefeller family for the past 30 years.

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